What is The “UV Index,” and Why Should I Care?

I was driving earlier this morning through Ontario on my way to Buffalo for a flight, and the sky was clear and cloudless.  It’s a little on the chilly side up there in the Buffalo area (at least it was at 7am when I was on the road), but on the CBC News I heard an anchor talk about a “very high UV index that will make being outside a little on the burny side.”

What?  I’m going to Dallas right now on a flight, and the UV Index is something that I’ve always just assumed was because we’ve polluted a hole in the ozone, and Nicolas Cage is going to have to deal with aliens like he did in that horrible movie about the sun burning up the Earth.

So what exactly IS the UV Index, how does it affect us, and why should we care?

Well, have you ever been sunburned?  How about melanoma?  Ever had a skin cancer scare?  Sun poisoning?  Blisters?  It’s the ultraviolet rays of the sun’s radiation that make our skin the color of a lobster when we’re out in it.  Did you know that overexposure to the sun can cause cataracts?!

Yeah.  I still love the sun.  That’s probably why I’ll look like a freaking leather catcher’s mitt when I’m 50.

There are three types of ultraviolet radiation:

  • UVA – makes it through the ozone layer
  • UVB – mostly absorbed by the ozone layer; some does reach the Earth’s surface
  • UVC – completely absorbed by the ozone layer and oxygen

Our Environmental Protection Agency has quantified the risk of the amount of UV exposure that we get on a certain day.  From the EPA’s website on sun exposure:

and something a little more helpful, from Wikipedia:

UV Index Description Media Graphic Color Recommended Protection
0–2 No danger to the average person Green Wear sunglasses on bright days; use sunscreen if there is snow on the ground, which reflects UV radiation, or if you have particularly fair skin.
3–5 Little risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Yellow Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen, cover the body with clothing and a hat, and seek shade around midday when the sun is most intense.
6–7 High risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Orange Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen having SPF 15 or higher, cover the body with sun protective clothing and a wide-brim hat, and reduce time in the sun from two hours before to three hours after solar noon (roughly 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM during summer in zones that observe daylight saving time).
8–10 Very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Red Wear sunscreen, a shirt, sunglasses, and a hat. Do not stay out in the sun for too long.
11+ Extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Violet Take all precautions, including: wear sunglasses and use sunscreen, cover the body with a long-sleeve shirt and trousers, wear a very broad hat, and avoid the sun from two hours before to three hours after solar noon.

I guess that extra four hours a day in the sun over a period of 30 years wasn’t so good for me after all, huh!

When you’re outside this summer, do yourself a favor, wouldja?  Put on some sunscreen!  I’m certainly not one to advocate for staying out of the sun – it’s my favorite source of light after fire!

Thanks, Dermis.net and J Grundy!

Burgundy – A New .PSLAB Beiruit Lighting Design Project

My favorite Lebanese lighting design firm, .PSLAB out of Beirut, has just finished another interesting project – a wine bar/restaurant called Burgundy.  I just heard from my pal Ramsi at the firm this morning, and I am excited to share the project images!

From the .PSLAB press release:

A lighting project for a wine bar/restaurant having a substructure of wooden arched beams cutting through a wire mesh covering the ceiling. The setting of the space underneath the substructure is functionally divided into two sections: a bar area and a dining area.

Highlighting the dual function, the lighting objects are set on two parallel axes over these two sections.

Suspended from the arcs, each light object is a set of conical tubes conceived to fill a circular-shaped area. Clustering in the circle, the tubes start at the center; moving radially, they begin to deviate at an angle of 25 degrees to reach an angle of 45 degrees. This deviation renders a chandelier-like object, with a bottom curved outline opposite to that of the ceiling. The cluster of the tubes housing the bulbs creates an effect of a singular light source being filtered.

The entrance is lit by a set of black projectors also using the arched beams for fixation; the groove in the beams encloses the technical parts box, while the head of the projector is left loose to rotate shedding light in different directions.

A lighting project for a wine bar/restaurant having a substructure of wooden arched beams cutting through a wire mesh covering the ceiling.The setting of the space underneath the substructure is functionally divided into two sections: a bar area and a dining area.Highlighting the dual function, the lighting objects are set on two parallel axes over these two sections.Suspended from the arcs, each light object is a set of conical tubes conceived to fill a circular-shaped area. Clustering in the circle, the tubes start at the center; moving radially, they begin to deviate at an angle of 25 degrees to reach an angle of 45 degrees. This deviation renders a chandelier-like object, with a bottom curved outline opposite to that of the ceiling.

The cluster of the tubes housing the bulbs creates an effect of a singular light source being filtered.The entrance is lit by a set of black projectors also using the arched beams for fixation; the groove in the beams encloses the technical parts box, while the head of the projector is left loose to rotate shedding light in different directions.

Cool!  My other favorite type of lighting design is architectural and interior – so these kinds of projects always thrill me to write about whenever they come across the desk!

Check out some images – and make SURE to check out .PSLAB’s website!

Thanks, Ramsi!

Mr. and Mrs. JimOnLight.com Calling It Quits

I wish I had more pleasant news, but since my whole freaking life is on the internet anyway, I figure why not share!

After a three year run, Mrs. JimOnLight.com and I have decided to head our own separate ways.  Things work out sometimes, and other times they do not work out.  This happened to be one of the latter times.  Leia has been the sole force behind all of the backend for JimOnLight.com since its birth.  She’s a web developer and code ninja, and I highly recommend her for work in her field.

As a wise man once said – “some days you eat the bar, and some days the bar eats you.”

No, wait.  That was in The Big Lebowski.  No wonder I suck at marriage.  Now I just have to get my belongings.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled postage.

The We Love People Love Plastikman

One of the web’s favorite goatee-wearing personalities, Travis Bedard, posted this amazing video of the We Love crowd doing a large Plastikman event – for those of you who don’t know who Plastikman is, you need to fix that right away.

(Plastikman is Richie Hawtin – one of the most referenced electronic musicians ever.  He also does a lot with visuals and video.)

Check out this event video – May 8, 2010 at Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.  Rock.

WE LOVE PLASTIKMAN from WE LOVE ART on Vimeo.

Images from the Dead Rising 2 Party at E3

Partying with and photographing the dead is hard work, apparently!  Last week, everyone’s favorite zombie activist and lumen grabber Amanda Lynne Ballard (and official JimOnLight.com photographer) got some amazing lighting shots at the E3 party for Dead Rising 2.  You have to check out this work, and definitely check out Amanda Lynne’s Flickr stream.  She has great freaking works there.

The images below are a gallery – click on the first, and they will open up in their own window!

Jax’s Link-O-Rama: Party at the Louvre Edition

I had a party recently.  It was not at the Louvre.  That’s because I’m not a Nobel laureate laser-inventing genius.  Gotta get on that.  Anyway–here are your Monday links!

Grand Louvre courtesy of Felber on Flickr

Image snagged from Felber’s Flickr stream.  Thanks!

  • The US Department of Energy is throwing money around in the interest of better phosphorescent OLED technology. (OLED-info)
  • Prime opportunity for inventing a good euphemism: LEDs with “tighter binning”.(Enlighter)
  • More on LEDs: planar lighting. (LEDs Magazine)
  • Denied: Maryland doesn’t get smartmeters just yet. (Earth2Tech)
  • Fossil fuel subsidy WTF.  Aren’t we past rewarding stuff like this? (CleanTechnica)
  • Speaking of lighting a flat surface, here’s an edge-lit display how-to. (Make Magazine)
  • Vroom, vroom! (CleanTechnica)
  • Partying down with laser geniuses–at the Louvre! (Optics.org)
  • This won’t hurt a bit: laser injections! (Optics.org)
  • Here’s the Earth2Tech weekly roundup. (Inhabitat)
  • A late addition: this is a story from a couple of months ago, but it’s just come to our attention here at JOL, so we’ll pass it on.  Just in case you ever doubt that lighting designers are rock stars: here’s a sad INXS-style incident involving one of our own. (NYT)

Art Lebedev Studios’ Spectrus USB Hub – Interesting Design!

I just came across this product by my favorite Russian design studio, Art Lebedev Studios.  The studio has designed this interesting USB hub – modeled after the idea of a prism splitting light into the colors of the rainbow:

This thing is COOL!  What I love almost more than Lebedev Studios products is their process sketches – and the fact that they actually include them on the website!  Check out these process shots:

What kinda bums me out is what the product finally ended up being, at least on the Lebedev Studios product page for Spectrus, is a product with no LEDs embedded for maximum awesome.  Here’s what the initial render looked like, LEDs and all:

and here is what they ended at – just colored lines on the case, no illumination:

I still think it’s cool.  But it would have been SO MUCH COOLER illuminated!!!  Art Lebedev, your studio still rocks to me.

What Do You Think About the New “Lighting Facts” Labels?

So, the Federal Trade Commission (or the FTC, as we refer to it – or as Eminem says, “the FTC won’t let me be, let me be me, so let me see…”) has decided to add some “Lighting Facts” labels to lamps now.  Check these babies out – hopefully you say “hey, those are lighting nutrition labels!”

So obviously there are two labels here – one for lamps containing mercury, and one for lamps that do not contain mercury.

What do you think of these labels?  Quite frankly, I think there is some information missing, and I’m probably being overly anal about this – but it’s my blog, and I think it needs more stuff!  First, what happened to the colored “Light Appearance” graph?  Like this:

CRI, CCT, efficacy, maybe even the equation for people to figure out how to determine their own yearly energy usage cost per lamp based on their OWN kilowatt-hour price and usage hours per day.  Now these are things that I think would be important, no?  Granted I am a lighting nerd, but I really think that dumbing something like this down just drives down the intelligence level of our society.  What’s wrong with providing more information?  I mean, how many people actually give a damn about how much Selenium their McNuggets have?

My point exactly.  But we get to know about minute differences like that with food.  Why can’t we know about more detailed aspects of our illumination?  Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that we have this now, being implemented in mid-2011, because it’s better than nothing.  From the FTC website on the matter:

Under direction from Congress to re-examine the current labels, the FTC is announcing a final rule that will require the new labels on light bulb packages. For the first time, the label on the front of the package will emphasize the bulbs’ brightness as measured in lumens, rather than a measurement of watts. The new front-of-package labels also will include the estimated yearly energy cost for the particular type of bulb.

Yeah.  It is definitely better measured in lumens, don’tcha think?  That’s my two cents.

Thanks to the Lighting Facts website and the FTC’s post on the subject.

Happy Birthday, Walther Nernst!

Who’s that crazy Monopoly-Man looking cat there?!  Hey, that’s Walther Nernst!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Walther Nernst!
(25 June 1864 – 18 November 1941)

You might recognize Walther Nernst from his pretty interesting lamp, (and get ready for a wacky creative name) the Nernst Burner:

Hey, the above Nernst Lamp is only 0.5 amps!

Sometimes history is funny.  At least to me.  What’s not funny is that this is actually a pretty neat way to think about a lamp – an open-air filament, not enclosed in any kind of gas, and you can just change the filament when it goes out or stops glowing.  But what about the heat?

AH-HAAAAA!  AH-HAAAAA!

(and now a slight departure for comedic effect)

Okay, now that the funny biz is done…

A ceramic filament-type burner, mounted into an essentially recyclable headpiece that is refitted onto a fixture.  Lots of CFLs could use this idea – isn’t it a shame that most of the CFLs in the US use a system that makes you throw the ballast part away LONG before its lifetime is over?  If we could detatch CFLs like this (by removing the glass part and keeping the bottom part), we might be able to kill some e-waste, eh?

(I wrote a big expansive post on the Nernst Burner lamp when I was in Sweden – check it out here)

So besides Walther’s big ol’ ceramic heater lamp, he was a Nobel Prize winner for his discovery of the Third Law of Thermodynamics.  You know the Third Law of Thermodynamics?  It’s the one that states about absolute zero and system entropy and how molecules slow to a point of no movement:

As a system approaches absolute zero, all processes cease and the entropy of the system approaches a minimum value.

Does that turn anyone ELSE on?

No?

*crickets*

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WALTHER NERNST!!!

Thanks, Wikipedia and the Nobel Prize website!

Jax’s Link-O-Rama: Solar Edition

It’s a cold, foggy day in San Francisco, so I’m going to throw a bunch of sunshine on the grill (and by grill, I mean internet, naturally).

Photo from Amanda Lynne Ballard: sunset

Photo is from JimOnLight fab photog Amanda Lynne Ballard.

  • New favorite holiday: Solar Day! (CleanTechnica)
  • The US Air Force is one of the biggest purchasers of wind power in the country, and now the military is digging into solar power, too.  Cool. (CleanTechnica)
  • New import product from the Sahara! (Inhabitat)
  • Transmission-connected solar farm, finally! (CleanTechnica)
  • Not solar powered, but sunburnt: did you go to Coachella?  Did you wonder how they pulled off powering that whole thing?  Here’s how. (TPI Magazine)
  • Not quite there yet: solar-powered air conditioning. (EcoGeek)
  • Upping the competition in the solar market: super-skinny solar film. (Earth2Tech)
  • How to decide whether you should go solar. (CleanTechnica)
  • Want a solar power, but it’s too pricey?  PG&E has an idea. (Earth2Tech)
  • Google’s handing out solar-powered gizmos to doctors with IMC. (CleanTechnica)